Explore Possible camping spots in SW Washington - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Possible camping spots in SW Washington Map
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lots of people but great entry level backpacking

hiking
9 days ago

Would’ve been five stars if I wasn’t socked in until the way back from Silver Star. Can only imagine the views on a clear day.

Like other reviews, you’ll need clearance on the Fire Service Road to make it to the trailhead. I entered through Sunset Falls Campground, then left on FS 41. Really straightforward. No cell service, but Google Maps works on GPS alone now, just in case.

Once at the trailhead, the first 2 miles are on an old Jeep Road. When you get to the end of that, there’s a little circle with shells and clay pigeons. Cut down and right onto a single track.

No sustained climbs. Lots of up, flat, down, and back up. Great mix of terrain from trees/berries/bushes to forest to rocks on the side of mountains. I’m sure my favorite would’ve been Silver Star, but since I had no view, it had to be the forest. There’s a spot where you literally can only see 30 yards in any direction because the tree trunks are so densely packed.

I have to second Bradley’s comment about long pants. The trail is fairly overgrown (but still clear and easy to follow) on much of the single track. Also, if you go on a day after rain, wear some waterproof shoes. I was soaked from the waist down from leftover water on the beargrass and other plants. Also, I saw a ton of bear scat in an area filled with blueberries. No bears, though.

Total from Bluff Mountain Trailhead to peak of Silver Star and back is 12.5 miles. Took me 4hrs 40 minutes, but again, I wasn’t stopping much to admire all the peaks and valleys I’m sure we’re out in the clouds somewhere.

Pick a clear day, if you can. I’ll be back on one.

cute small falls

hiking
15 days ago

Loved the hike! Did it with my sister. Took us a little over 4 hrs to complete only because we accidentally got off the trail....We had started at Cold Creek Camp Ground.

Easy trail, great for families and on-leash dog walking. Draw backs were how busy it was, and parking. Overall, a very nice walk.

The hike was amazing and especially the top of mountain view is awesome. You can see all mountains around. Road to trailhead some places is too difficult for passenger cars. Better if you drive SUV.

Just got back. No bugs, which was a real plus. We had the entire place to ourselves and didn't see a single person on the entire trip. The place is just gorgeous and if you head to the top of the falls there's a Jacuzzi style water hole that can swim in.

this trail is rated as moderate but it was pretty easy. it was nice and cool. The trail was surprisingly crowded, however you weren't nipping at one another's heels. It was BEAUTIFUL! At mile 2 the waterfall was amazing. Lots of dogs. Many off leash which was fine as my dog is well behaved.

The road to the trail head is rough but doable in a stock 4Runner.

Definitely go up Ed’s Trail and come back on the Silver Star path. Breathtaking views of the area.

hiking
1 month ago

A great hike through a beautiful section of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. There are some steady ascents and descents, but nothing dramatic except for the last small part right before you reach the Silver Star Mountain trail. At the meeting point with Silver Star there is a small campground and a short trail leading up to Silver Star Mountain. In August 2018 there was NO WATER TO BE FOUND anywhere on the trail or at the campsite, so bring more water than you think you'll need, especially if you will be camping.

Make sure to go up the Silver Star trail to the top to get amazing 360º views of Washington and Oregon, where on a clear day you can see Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Hood, as well as the Columbia River Gorge and Portland off in the distance. The entire trail is flanked by wild berry bushes and beautiful vistas. If you don't want to get your legs scraped up, be sure to wear full-length pants. And, if you are going, please consider taking a machete to do some trail maintenance, as there is a lot of growth right into the trail that makes walking difficult.

As others have noted in the comments, the trail starts about 2 miles down a fire road, so if you have a high-clearance 4WD you can get right to the trail head, otherwise you will be parking at the turn around on NF-41.
(This was written 2018-08-07)

So the red on the map is actually just a logging road, very rocky if you have bad tires or low clearance. Not very good for hiking since it’s open to vehicles up to the turn. Some nice views after the gate, but sound of gunfire and lots of trash on road was disappointing. Maybe would come back up with a Mtn bike but would t recommend for a hike unless you just happen to be nearby. Mtn bike trails sound pretty well built out though. Also the trail doesn’t start where the red starts, it starts at that sharp turn halfway up where there is a parking lot and toilets.

My daughter was driving her Honda Pilot and was not comfortable with driving up the last 2.4 miles to the trailhead so we parked and walked to the trailhead adding another 4.8 to the overall hike but it was still an amazing hike. I’m pretty sure someone with more experience (and patience) would have been able to make it to the trailhead in her Pilot but she was not about to try. This is the third or fourth time I’ve done this hike but still love it and will probably continue to hike it from time to time.

This is a fantastic hike. Had my dog with me so had to turn around about half way due to steep rock climb. Pretty slippery and would be easy for her or I to lose our footing and it would be a looong fall down. Didn't want to chance it. Will definitely go back without my adventure buddy to do the whole thing. Love that it is difficult to get to so not too many people (relative to other hikes in the area). On way back down the road there were a lot of cars parked on the narrow road making it difficult to get around them on the washouts.

easy trail. very enjoyable for a Saturday hike

hiking
1 month ago

When we got to about mile 3 someone moved the sign and sent us in the wrong direction. We were way off track on a very hot day. Needs better signs

Love this Hike, it's beautiful no matter how far in you hike. I recommend going all the way to Wildcat Falls if you have the time.

backpacking
2 months ago

Went this weekend and did the full trip. Closer to 18 miles once account for for the hike to the campsites and back.

Extremely hot, coming back was more challenging than the first day. Partially because you’re sore. Partially because it’s up almost the whole way— albeit not as steep.

Biggest con is the forest area is extremely thick so there was zero breeze. Bugs were fine, but we did see snakes closer to the end of the trail. Also, it’s not quite bushwhacking level, but once you’re to the lesser travelled part it does become overgrown.

Would do again on a cooler weekend for sure.

Really nicely maintained trail. Parking at the trail head is crazy and please be a good human being and buy a northwest forest pass. Awesome waterfalls.

horseback riding
2 months ago

Was out with horse group 6/23/18; walked my horse across bridge and it is so slick that neither of us could stand up mid-span. I was knocked off the bridge onto the rocks below. Be very careful whether you are hiking or bike riding, but horses, stay off the bridge! The tie area is across the bridge but don't do it, tie to the trees just before you get to the bridge and "skate" across. We were able to get my mare back across, yes she fell on the bridge, by putting dirt and gravel on it for traction. This bridge and the one around the corner, needs fall protection like the others have

I hiked Silver Star on July 11, 2018. Unfortunately, the road up to the base parking lot is impassable to anything but a jeep or high-centered, four-wheel drive vehicle, so I and a number of others had to park their cars along the road about three miles below the base parking lot, thus extending the hike by about six miles out and pack.

Once on Ed's and the Silver Star trail, the wildflowers were profuse with glacier lilies, cat's eye lilies, paintbrush, red columbine, penstemon, spirea and others. The bear grass had finished blooming, so only a few remote latecomers could be found. The flower fields were awash with butterflies.

The view of the four volcanoes from the beginning of Ed's trail--St. Helens, Rainier, Adams and Hood--were particularly clear after the rainfall of the previous days.

If I go up next year, I'll probably rent a jeep somewhere like Enterprise

I wouldn’t rate this as moderate. It’s a pretty easy jaunt with complimentary descends and ascends. Beautiful falls, although very little camping space. The road from the south is open. Fishing was great! Nothin like speckled trout for dinner

Awesome trail. I thought the elevation graph on the map was misleading. It's really a very gradual climb for the first 2 miles then a slight downhill or flat all the way in to the falls. Only met a few people on the trail. Long stretches of open sky so bring a hat and some sunscreen. We will definitely do this trail again.

What an amazing hike this is! It has now landed a spot in my top 5 PNW day hikes. Went up on Ed’s Trail and came down on the Silver Star Trail. The views were stunning (even on a cloudy day), the wild flowers were amazing, and you can see multiple mountains and the gorge!

The road to the trail head is in horrible condition. There is a ton of wash out and the ruts are pretty deep in some areas. We were in a SUV and in 4WD and I still was uncomfortable driving up and down. I would highly recommend to go in a car with good clearance and 4WD. Take your time driving the road.

I love this hike. So it is possible to access the top with a truck or SUV...or anything with at least a foot of clearance -- but i recommend a 4WD or AWD vehicle. As long as you know how to read the road, you will be fine. I stayed in 2WD up and down, and it was raining pretty hard on the way down. I drive a 98 Ford exploder Sport. If you don't feel safe with this road, go to the Grouse Vista trailhead to Silver star as that road is fine.

heartbreak all the way! that was a good challenge. took my 16 year old son on the hike. it's a good hike although you are in the woods for a large portion of the hike with minimal views. once you get past heartbreak the views are great.

The flowers were phenomenal, the views inspiring. Oh yeah, we saw a mountain goat!

My husband and I hiked about half of this trail. We came from the upper trail head to Chinook Falls and back. The first 3 miles was through beautiful forest but didn't change much. We started late on Friday and got a very nice camping spot right on the creek about 4 miles in. The next day we hikes to the falls and WOW! Beautiful scenery all the way around! Great waterfalls along the trail which we loved! We were going to stay a second night but our summer sleeping bags weren't quite warm enough, so we decided to make the trek back. Our second day hiking I feel like we over did it a bit but we survived lol. The trail was heavily trafficked and there was some people who had no camp/backpacking etiquette we stopped at a site where we considered camping for the second night and we are making our lunch and eating and have all of our stuff out and some people just walked right into our campsite to use our access point to the creek didn't say anything to us at all. Which my husband and I thought was weird and rude. Bottom line beautiful hike would recommend- also don't go into someone else's campsite that's just not cool.

Decent hike. It was nice that it wasn't overcrowded. I thought the views were better on the way out than in. The falls were nice; you can walk right up to the base and soak your feet in the shallow pool at the bottom. It was pretty brushy so gaiters would have been a good idea. Lots of wildflowers and butterflies.

Great short, fairly easy hike with excellent views of St. Helens, Rainier, Adams, Hood and Jefferson. You'll walk through fields of wildflowers for most of the hike. Get out there early to beat the crowds. The last 2 miles of FR 4109 are indeed quite difficult. We drove to the trailhead in a Subaru Outback with few problems. but the going was slow and harrowing in a few parts. I wouldn't attempt it without 4 wheel drive and at least 8" of clearance. Consider a skid plate if your clearance is below 12".

Difficult, recommend poles! The terrain was super unique, so fun climbing the boulders. But this hike is quite challenging. Recommends a full day and plenty of snacks and water

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